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Key Signaling Switch Identified in Allergic Disease

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“These exciting results extend the known functions of ADAMs in development and disease. We hope our results will stimulate new research into how to block or activate the function of ADAMs involved in human disease, including allergic response, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis,” said Carl P. Blobel, M.D., Ph.D, chair of the Arthritis and Tissue Degeneration Program at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and professor of Medicine and of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medical College. Blobel directed the research conducted at Weill Cornell.

According to Blobel, in addition to the critical role of ADAM10 in allergic disease through processing of CD23, ADAMs are also key molecules in cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. For example, he said, ADAMs are essential for activating the epidermal growth factor receptor, an established target for the treatment of cancers, such as colon cancer. Moreover, ADAMs release tumor necrosis factor alpha, currently the major target for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Since the 1970s Conrad has been investigating the basic mechanism involved in allergic disease. Blobel has been investigating ADAM proteases since their discovery in the early 1990s.

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